Content Marketing

Using Surveys For Market Research

The better you know your customer, the easier it is to talk to them through your marketing, and target them with your messages.

Even if you think you know your customer very well, you can always improve and provide better products or services or additional products or services to meet their needs.  The best way to research customers is to ask them to complete a short survey.

How Long Should The Survey Be?

You might be tempted to take the opportunity to find out as much as you can, and ask a large number of questions, but ultimately, your customers time is valuable, so it is important to decide exactly what is the main outcome you are looking for with the survey. Then build the survey around this.

It is usually best to make the survey as short as you possibly can, to achieve your objective.

Longer surveys will usually require bigger and more valuable incentives to get the survey completed.

What Type Of Questions Should I Ask?

I always find it’s best to offer a range of different types of questions – some “closed” questions that require yes or no answers, some “open” questions where the customer can extrapolate on their answer, and I always find “sliding scale” questions very insightful.  Sliding scale questions can be offered as numbers eg 1 – 10 or as words eg poor – average – excellent.

Survey Software Options

It is cost efficient and easiest to conduct your surveys online, unless you are targeting a specific market that aren’t so inclined to respond on the web.

There are many options available, for a range of budgets.  I compiled a list of options back in 2010 here – Easy Market Research With 12 Great Poll Sites – but I thought it was time to review, revise and update.

I have collated a revised list here:

  • E Survey Pro – offer a free account, and several paid accounts from $100 – $2,400 per year.  The free account has limited features, but the paid accounts have excellent features.
  • Poll Daddy – offer a free account, as well as a Pro account for $2o0/ year and a Corporate account for $899/ year.  The features are very good for this provider as well.
  • Add Poll – these guys boast the most powerful FREE plan in the world, but you would have to decide for yourself.  The features do look pretty good though.  They also have an Extra Plan at $39.95/month and a Pro Plan at $19.95/month.
  • Website Toolbox – offer a one week free trial and no free plan, but their plans are very affordable at $5/ month for 3 months up to $3.50/month for a whole year.

If you use a survey software that you highly recommend, please feel free to mention it below.

And as always, I welcome feedback and comments.

Marketing Manager, Content Strategist and Writer driving Engagement and ROI. On weekends I'm a Property Investor, Traveler & Coffee Snob


    • Fiona

      Hi Sam, thank you for your comment. Yes, if done incorrectly, surveys can easily come across as “spammy”. To avoid this, it’s best to keep it short, relevant and to the point. If it can also be branded to match a company’s logo and/or colours, that would help with credibility as well.

  • thông hút b? ph?t hà n?i

    to carry out the survey online, I have created the form of gifts, then proceed to ask the user to answer, that process is complete, receive a free gift, it is successful, can be applied in combination with social networks are great results

    • Fiona McEachran

      Hi Thong, thank you for your comment. A gift can be a great idea to encourage more people to complete a survey. But I think you have to be very selective in choosing the gift, as it’s best to be something suited especially to your target market 🙂